Basketball Compression Pants

Basketball Compression Pants

You may often see basketball players wearing tights underneath their shorts when playing or practicing. These tights are actually compression pants which serve a few different functions on the court. All different types of players wear these pants and they even come in different styles and materials to accommodate different needs.

What are compression pants used for?

Basketball compression shorts have rapidly grown in popularity over the last decade. Compression pants serve useful functions in terms of health and recovery. Compression pants help keep your muscles tight and in the right place, preventing pulls or strains. They can also prevent your legs from rubbing against the ground and getting burned or scraped.

In terms of performance, compression pants have been proven to increase blood flow to the muscles. Increased blood flow helps with an immediate stamina boost as well as allowing the muscles to stay warm during breaks or timeouts.

However, even when considering the proven health benefits, some people wear compression pants simply because they like the way they look or feel. Some people prefer the tightness of compression pants and it may help improve confidence or enjoyment during a game.

Things To Consider

When looking for compression pants, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What are the different styles of compression pants?
  • Do you want the compression pants to feature extra padding?
  • If you do want extra padding, what part of the body do you want it to protect?
  • Do the compression pants you are looking at fit comfortably?
  • What size compression pants do I need?


The two different types of compression pants are full-length compression pants and compression shorts.

Full-Length Compression Pants

Full-length compression pants are a type of compression pants that go all the way from the waist to the ankles. These pants better protect your full leg from scrapes or burns as well as providing support to the calves. These have become more popular as compression pants have become a common choice for athletes.

Compression Shorts

Compression shorts differ from full-length pants in the sense that they are able to be hidden underneath a pair of regular shorts. Some people prefer compression shorts since they tend to feel less hot than compression pants and don't attract as much sweat. While not covering the full leg, compression shorts provide similar benefits to full-length pants.


Compression pants are made out of materials such as lycra, nylon, polyester, and spandex.

  • Lycra: Lycra is the brand name that makes spandex.
  • Nylon: Nylon based compression pants tend to be more durable but less stretchy. Nylon is often the material that holds the tightness in the pants.
  • Polyester: Polyester is what provides the pants with its breathability and sweat regulation properties.
  • Spandex: Spandex is the most popular material that is found in compression pants. It is very stretchy and is best blended with other materials.


The most popular brands of basketball compression pants are McDavid, Nike, and Under Armour.

  • Nike: Nike is the world's biggest manufacturer of a variety of different sports goods. They make all different types of compression pants, ranging from full-length to shorts, and even make them for sports other than basketball.
  • Under Armour: Under Armour is another major sports brand that produces specialized sports equipment. Their patented HeatGear technology allows their compression pants to be worn in even the hottest of temperatures.
  • McDavid: McDavid is a company that focuses more on sports medicine and recovery. They mainly produce compression shorts rather than pants and tend to have a lot of padded options available.


When looking for compression pants, some important factors to consider are the pants size, durability, color, padding, and cost.


Basketball compression shorts are durable and specifically designed to withstand falls and slides on indoor courts. Nylon-based compression pants will likely be the most durable. Depending on how often they are used, it would be wise to replace a pair every 1-2 years.


Compression pants come in almost every color imaginable. It may be hard to find some of the more obscure colors, however, with black and white being the two most popular colors. Along with those, navy blue and grey as well as some of the more neutral colors will be the easiest to find.


Most compression pants will be sold in many different sizes. A lot of companies make men's, women's and youth compression pants. Not all sizes from different retailers will naturally correspond with each other, and it is best to either try them on in store or look at a sizing guide to find the best fit.


Padding may vary on compression pants from brand to brand. Padded compression shorts usually have padding that cover the front of the thigh as well as the hips. Compression pants may offer even more padding and can cover the knees as well.


Most compression pants can be had for anywhere from $20 to around $80. Some of the bigger name brands like Nike and Under Armour may be the most expensive as they are associated with creating high quality products. Certain materials like polyester may cost more than others, and padded pants tend to be more expensive than unpadded.

What are the best basketball compression tights?


What are the benefits of using compression pants?

Compression pants can provide many health and performance benefits. They can help reduce the risk of injury by covering the skin and keeping the muscles intact. They can also increase blood flow, boosting both short and long-term performance. Many people simply wear them because they like how they feel which may boost their confidence and in turn their play.

Why are they called compression pants?

Compression pants are given their name because they compress the muscles rather than sit in the skin loosely. These pants are much tighter than a traditional pair of leggings or briefs and use their compressing aspects to give athletes much needed health benefits.

What materials are basketball compression pants made from?

Basketball compression pants are mostly made from spandex, nylon, and polyester. The majority of compression pants will use a blend of these materials as each one provides a different quality that makes up the pants.